Continued Medical Malpractice Within the VA
A former VA pathologist was charged with manslaughter in the deaths of three veteran patients, a former nurse was charged with stealing pain medication from veterans, a VA staff member was accused of sexual assaults and another former staff member is a person of interest in multiple veteran homicides, all within the past months.
Brian Tally, a Marine veteran, is fighting back, after nearly dying because of medical malpractice and still feels its effects. At a recent House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, Congress members pushed VA leadership for answers.
Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., said the recent string of cases “speaks to a wider problem” at VA, adding that he wanted to know “What red flags are VA’s facilities missing or overlooking or choosing to ignore?”
VA leaders committed to changes to improve veteran care and safety at a similar hearing on medical harm to veterans, in 2017. Recently, VA leaders said policy changes were in progress and expected to be complete in summer 2020.
The Government Accountability and Inspector General’s office found that VA did not always address medical staff who didn’t meet license requirements and did not always document reviews of medical staff.
Acting principal deputy undersecretary for health at the Veterans Health Administration, Steven Lieberman, emphasized that VA is treating more veterans than ever. Iit was "a shame" that the actions of "a few" VA staff members could "overshadow" the work of thousands of other VA workers, and said most medical mistakes "are unintentional," stated Lieberman.